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Bellyache Bush

Bellyache Bush – Jatropha gossypifolia


Habit: Shrubs to 4m. Leaves purple & green. Flowers red with yellow centres. Green to brown seed capsules.

Spread: Seed capsules split open and spread in water and on muddy tyres.

WA Declared Weed (Kimberley)

P1 Movement of plants and seeds prohibited.

P4 Prevent the spread of infestations

Bellyache Bush infest

Despite the fact that bellyache bush has become a considerable weed in the Kimberley and Northern Territory, it is still sometimes used by people in gardens.  It was originally brought in for that purpose. It is often found in areas that have been distirbed or grazed intensively. Animals do not eat the plant and so it continues to spread, invade and dominate native vegetation.

As the seed travels easily in water and mud, it can also found along watercourses and drainage lines. The growing leaves of bellyache bush are generally red to purple and fading to green further down the plant.

(Photo: Louise Williams)

Jatropha flwr fruit

The tiny red flowers mature into green capsules that split open when ripe to release the seeds. The seeds are particularly poisonous and can result in severe stomach pains (Bellyache!), gastro and hospitalisation has occurred within the Kimberley. The toxins can cause death in animals (& people).

(Photo: Louise Williams)

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